Friday, October 2, 2015

This Week's Reflection: Creation Ethics--Doing Good

KEY TEXT: Ps 8:3-4 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?

This week, in all our lectionary readings, we have been looking at God’s original intentions as first given to us in Genesis chapter 1 & 2. If there is one word that describes the pre-Fall creation, it is “good” and “very good”. God created everything in this world in six days—and He declared them as “good” and “very good” (Gen. 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31). God is good and so He made everything good: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17). God’s original intention for this world and every life form is good—but through sin, the devil distorted this world and introduced evil into the world after the Fall in Genesis 3. When Jesus came, He came as the Creator-God and went about doing “good”: “He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him” (Acts 10:38).

If we are ever going to be God-like, our mode of operation must always be doing what is good—not just what is right. Some theologians have called this “creation ethics”. If we want a simple ethical principle for living: just make sure that every decision we make is good for others—not just for ourselves. But very so often, we have become more like the Pharisees than we are like Jesus when all we want is to be right instead of to be good. When we want to be right,  instead of being good, we alienate others and put others down whom we consider "wrong".

Sometime, as believers, in our zeal to do right, we overlook doing good—like persecuting people who disagree with us and getting rid of people we consider “not right” as their suggestions violate company or church policies. We don't even consider that perhaps these people are more noble because they are trying to do what is good, though it may not be "right" according to our constitutional rules and regulations: "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness" ("Matt 23:23). 

Jesus went about doing good—even when it was not politically correct or religiously right: like breaking the Law, mixing with the “wrong crowds” (tax-collectors and prostitutes) and even allowing himself to be the victim of judicial murder. He was not concerned about being right in a wrong world—His priority was doing good in an evil world.

If our decision priority is on doing what is good, we will ultimately end up doing what is right. But if our decision priority is doing what is right, we may end up doing what is evil--like judicial murder.

Father, thank You that You are a good God. Teach us make good decisions, not just right ones. And grant us Your Spirit’s power to do good wherever we go. Amen

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